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Functional Medicine®

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Functional Medicine Explained

Functional Endocrinology: Prostaglandin Balance


Prostaglandins are different than hormones. They are not secreted from a gland that can be carried through the bloodstream and work on specific areas around the body. Prostaglandins are made by a chemical reaction in the body that can be made in all the organs and are part of the body’s way of dealing with injuries and illnesses.

When any part of the body has been damaged, prostaglandins are made at the site of tissue damage or infection where they cause inflammation, pain and fever as part of the body’s healing process. When there is a high level of prostaglandins in the body due to the natural healing process from injuries and inflammation, it can contribute to several diseases from the unwanted inflammation.

Prostaglandins in the Omega fatty acids

In omega-6 fatty acids, DGLA (dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid) creates Prostaglandin E1(PG-1) as anti-inflammatory receptors in the body. In omega-3 fatty acids, they can create Prostaglandin E3 (PG-3) that are also anti-inflammatory receptors as well. PG-1 and PG-3 help prevent blood clotting in the body system.

When it comes to pro-inflammatory receptors, omega-6 fatty acids have these receptors as well. Pro-inflammatory receptors are created by arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid creates Prostaglandin E2 (PG-2), which is responsible for inflammation, swelling and clotting as well.

There has to be a balance between PG-2 and PG-1,3 to provide a healthy function in the body and an ideal hormone signaling response. When one of the PGs are being disrupted by trans-fatty acids from food, it can cause health problems to a person.

Deficiencies in Prostaglandins

Trans fatty acids are a form of unsaturated fats that can be either natural or artificial. They are produced either by hydrogenation of unsaturated oils or by biohydrogenation in the stomach of ruminant animals. Numerous studies have been shown that consuming trans fatty acids continuously can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. This can also increase the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol in the body. Trans fatty acids can block the activity of D6D (delta-6-desaturase), which is the first step in prostaglandin synthesis from essential fats in the diet.

The excess sugar consumption, insulin surges, inflammation, protein deficiencies hypothyroidism, and alcohol consumption will impair the activity of D6D and be a marker of accelerating aging to the human body. When a person has an increased consumption from fried foods and vegetable oils in an Western diet will shift the omega-6 pathway from PG-1 and into PG-2 production in the body. With the current American diet, people consume a high quantity of omega-6 fatty acids and low quantity of omega-3 fatty acids. This will cause a strong reaction of an inflammatory prostaglandin shift.

Since prostaglandins are caused by injuries and inflammation to heal the body, when an individual consumes a high omega-6 diet, it can cause an excessive amount of inflammation to the body and it can lead to chronic illnesses.

More Deficiencies in Prostaglandins

A deficiency in nutrients like nicotinic acid, pyridoxal 5’ -phosphate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and molybdenum is required for the desaturase and elongase enzymes in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Their deficiency can lead to improper production of prostaglandins. So EFAs from diets cause overconsumption of omega-6 and a lack of essential fatty acids in the body.

After that happens, then the EFAs can be synthesized into prostaglandins with desaturase and elongase enzymes. This will then cause nutrient deficiencies and metabolic factors can impair and downregulate those enzymes and causing the body to be prone to pro-inflammatory.

When that happens, prostaglandin formation will suddenly turn into abnormal ratios in the body causing problems, excessive inflammation in the endocrine glands and the body organs, and soon later on if it is not fixed, chronic illnesses will cause proper hormones to alter their components and either stop producing or create an abundance in the body.


Prostaglandins are a chemical reaction to the body that are different than hormones. They are caused when the body is injured and it causes inflammation so it can naturally heal itself. When there is an excessive amount of prostaglandins in the body it can lead to chronic inflammation and cause an abnormal shift in the body’s functional state. A factor that can affect the prostaglandins as well is the excessive consumption of omega-6 fatty acids. This consumption can cause inflammation and can make the body feel sluggish and not feeling great. There are products that can help the body, especially balancing the production of essential fatty acids and metabolizing the body for optimal health.

October is Chiropractic Health Month. To learn more about it, check out Governor Abbott’s bill on our website to get full details.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal and nervous health issues as well as functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or chronic disorders of the musculoskeletal system. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .


F.Horrobin, David. “Loss of Delta-6-Desaturase Activity as a Key Factor in Aging.” Medical Hypotheses, Churchill Livingstone, 22 Mar. 2004, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0306987781900645.

Horrobin, D F. “Fatty Acid Metabolism in Health and Disease: the Role of Delta-6-Desaturase.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 1993, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8386433.

Innes, Jacqueline K, and Philip C Calder. “Omega-6 Fatty Acids and Inflammation.” Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29610056.

Iqbal, Mohammad Perwaiz. “Trans Fatty Acids – A Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease.” Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, Professional Medical Publicaitons, Jan. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3955571/.

Leech, Joe. “What Are Trans Fats, and Are They Bad for You?” Healthline, 30 July 2019, www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-trans-fats-are-bad.

Ricciotti, Emanuela, and Garret A FitzGerald. “Prostaglandins and Inflammation.” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3081099/.

Tallima, Hatem, and Rashika El Ridi. “Arachidonic Acid: Physiological Roles and Potential Health Benefits – A Review.” Journal of Advanced Research, Elsevier, 24 Nov. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6052655/.

Unknown, Unknown. “Prostaglandins.” You and Your Hormones, Dec. 2016, www.yourhormones.info/hormones/prostaglandins/.

Wang, Xiaoping, et al. “Multiple Roles of Dihomo-γ-Linolenic Acid against Proliferation Diseases.” Lipids in Health and Disease, BioMed Central, 14 Feb. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3295719/.

Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C.,C.C.S.T

Welcome-Bienvenido's to our blog. We focus on treating severe spinal disabilities and injuries. We also treat Sciatica, Neck and Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sport Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, health, fitness, and structural conditioning. We use Individualized Diet Plans, Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Adapted Cross-Fit Protocols and the "PUSH System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. If you would like to learn more about a Doctor of Chiropractic who uses advanced progressive techniques to facilitate complete physical health, please connect with me. We a focus on simplicity to help restore mobility and recovery. I'd love to see you. Connect!

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